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Peru’s ex-president dies after shooting himself during arrest bid

Cris Bouroncle, AFP | File photo taken on May 28, 2010 of then Peruvian President Alan Garcia

Peru's former president Alan Garcia died in a Lima hospital Wednesday after he shot himself in the head as police were about to arrest him in connection with a corruption case.

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"Alan Garcia has died, long live Apra," said Omar Quesada, the general secretary of Garcia's American Popular Revolutionary Alliance (Apra) party.

President Martin Vizcarra said on Twitter that he was "consternated" by Garcia's death, and sent his condolences to his family members.

García was under investigation for bribes allegedly paid during the construction of Lima's metro during his 2006-2011 government. He had denied ever receiving money from Odebrecht, which is at the center of Latin America's biggest corruption scandal after admitting in a 2016 plea agreement with the US Justice Department that it paid corrupt officials across Latin America nearly $800 million in exchange for major infrastructure contracts.

Corruption scandal

The scandal has led to the jailing of numerous politicians across the region, especially in Peru, where former President Pedro Pablo Kucyznski was detained just last week as part of a money laundering probe into his ties to the company.

Congressional allies of Kuczynski said he was also taken Tuesday night to a local clinic with high blood pressure.

A Peruvian judge last week ordered Kuczynski's detention for 10 days as he investigates some $782,000 in previously undisclosed payments from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht more than a decade ago. A hearing is scheduled to take place Wednesday to decide whether to increase his detention to three years.

García, 69, was a populist firebrand whose erratic first presidency in the 1980s was marked by hyperinflation, rampant corruption and the rise of the Shining Path guerrilla movement.

When he returned to power two decades later he ran a more conservative government, helping usher in a commodities-led investment boom in which Odebrecht played a major supporting role.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)

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